When The Masonic Light Burns Out

by Midnight Freemasons Founder
Todd E. Creason, 33°

We spend so much of our time as Masons doing things.  Going to events.  Putting on fundraisers for this cause and that.  Attending degree work and Masonic Funeral Rites.  We spend a lot of time in the car driving sometimes long distances to attend meetings and events, and while we’re in the car, many of us use that time to practice and rehearse degree parts.  As a Secretary I spend a lot of time making sure dues are paid, meetings are announced, birthday cards go out, and keeping track of Brothers in need or in sickness and distress. 

But the more active we are as Masons, the more at risk we are as well.  How many times have we seen that Mason that was always involved in everything suddenly vanish?  He just flames out.  Done. It’s not uncommon at all, in fact, I hear it all the time.  And I get it a lot more now than I did a couple years ago, because I found myself in that boat.  After a very long term in the East (much too long by anyone’s standards), and after more than a dozen years as a Mason, I found I had very little energy left for the Fraternity when I finally got out of that chair.  I haven’t written a book in several years—I have one nearly done I just can’t seem to get excited about finishing.  I’ve struggled to even write pieces for the blog that I started.  I don’t feel like going to meetings, and I’ve missed a lot of them over the last year or so. 

Then I finally figure it out, and as often is the case the answer came from an unexpected source.  I’m over fifty now, and in a few years I can retire with a pension.  I have no intention of sitting around the house until I croak eventually.  I also have no desire to continue working at what I do now, although I certainly can.  So the question is what am I going to do with the rest of my life? 

I realized that I still have a strong desire to do what I originally wanted to do back when I graduated high school—I want to serve the church.  That’s not the path I wound up taking, but it certainly isn’t too late to pursue it now—it’s what the PC culture would call an “encore career” and Monty Python would refer to as “and now for something totally different!”  And I have plenty of time before I retire to prepare myself with the necessary training and education to do that.  I spent the summer finding out what I’d have to do to make that happen through my church.  I’ve started ministerial training through the church already, and I start attending seminary classes in mid-January.  But I was given a reading list of about fifteen books by the seminary—some suggested reading to help prepare me for the seminary journey ahead. 

I’m sure they didn’t expect me to read all fifteen books, but since I’m through about eight of them, I probably will.  I’ve always loved to read, and I’m chewing through it quickly, reading hours on end, and anxious to glean from the material things I can use.  And I’m writing about what I’m reading—like I used to when I was reading so much about Freemasonry.

And then the light bulb came on! 

For too many Freemasons like me, the focus of Freemasonry becomes about output instead of input.  Doing things--all the time.  Output.  Output.  Output.  And we never refuel ourselves with that knowledge that so fascinated us in the beginning of our journey.  It sneaks up on you, and suddenly, Freemasonry is just another job rather than a lifelong opportunity for personal growth, moral training, and character development.  We put down the books and pick up the spatula in the kitchen, or the minute book at the Secretary’s desk.  And suddenly, we’re a volunteer employee rather than a traveler seeking the knowledge our predecessors passed down to us.  And for me, somebody that has been passionate about Masonic Education since I joined, instead of being anxious to share something I’ve read, I wind up recycling something I already know because “I got to put something together for education next Thursday” and I haven’t actually read anything I could share in some time. 

Hopefully, you’ll learn something from my mistake.  Your focus should be on building yourself—making yourself a better man.  Focus on acquiring and applying that knowledge that is so abundant in our Fraternity (we have dusty libraries all over of unread books).  Read.  Study.  Learn.  Be inspired.  Input.  Input.  Input.  You have to keep working on yourself.  Output is the result of input. 

If you study history, and most especially industrious men like Thomas Jefferson or Benjamin Franklin, you’ll find a few things they had in common.  First of all, what they accomplished in their lifetimes seems impossible.  The second thing you’ll quickly learn is what they put out paled in comparison to what they took in-- what they read, studied, and filled themselves with.  Their tremendous contributions were the result of a passion fueled by what they took in. 

When you’re inspired by what you’re taking in, nothing becomes a job—it will become a self-fueling passion within you.


Todd E. Creason, 33° is the Founder of the Midnight Freemasons blog, and an award winning author of several books and novels, including the Famous American Freemasons series. Todd started the Midnight Freemason blog in 2006, and in 2012 he opened it up as a contributor blog The Midnight Freemasons (plural). Todd has written more than 1,000 pieces for the blog since it began. He is a Past Master of Homer Lodge No. 199 and Ogden Lodge No. 754 (IL) where he currently serves as Secretary. He is a Past Sovereign Master of the Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees. He is a Fellow at the Missouri Lodge of Research (FMLR). He is a charter member of the a new Illinois Royal Arch Chapter, Admiration Chapter No. 282 and currently serves as EHP. You can contact him at: webmaster@toddcreason.or

1 comment:

  1. What a great message for the fraternity! Thank you, Brother!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.